School voucher advocates have had two recent op-eds in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “The story behind school choice study” by John Witte and Patrick Wolf on May 28 and “Special needs students benefit from many choices” by Susan Mitchell on June 19. Both are at best misinformed and at worst deceptive. The facts should matter.
State law says voucher schools must accept special education students. Then why are so few special education students (the number hovers near 1%) attending voucher schools? I put this question to a voucher school principal, who said her school has no special education services or students.
I asked her how that was possible. She stated that she simply tells parents of special education students that she cannot provide the services that their children need. Parents then choose another school, she said – most likely in Milwaukee Public Schools.
MPS does receive more money per student than voucher schools receive. But Mitchell claims MPS receives $15,000 per student while voucher students receive $6,442. She somehow arrived at these numbers without doing her homework. One needs to subtract from the total the amount transferred to voucher schools for a variety of programs.